Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Social Media and the Generation that Refuses to Grow Up

By: Kristin Rabas, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

A local Green Bay tweeter recently posted an article the New York Times ran on August 18, 2010 titled “What is it About 20-Somethings?” As a 20-something myself, I was immediately intrigued as to what this article had to say. (An excerpt and link to the article is posted below.) As I began to read about how 20-somethings are “delaying adulthood” by moving back in with their parents after school, staying single longer, not having children and constantly moving from place to place, it got me thinking about public relations and the use of social media.

Since I’m currently in my mid-20s, most of my friends are as well. As I think about my ten closest friends ranging from ages 22 to 29, I realized just how accurate this article is.

  • Only two of my friends are married
  • Only one of my married friends has children
  • Six have moved in the last year – either back in with their parents or to a new living arrangement
  • Three are currently back in school part time or are in the process of enrolling
  • All ten are employed at least part-time

So, here I am with my 20-something friends who for the most part have little financial responsibility yet are all working. Long story short, this means a large amount of disposable income but a hard market to reach as they bounce around and refuse to settle.

Ironically enough, my ten closest friends the one thing in common…..Facebook accounts that follow them from place to place and relationship to relationship. While some companies may not see a need for social media just yet, at least for my friends, its one of the only consistent things in a 20-something’s life.

So what does this mean for businesses that want to target this demographic but don’t use social media as a promotional avenue? As social media grows in popularity, are these businesses losing out or are they finding alternative ways to reach this generation that’s on the move?

What are your thoughts about social media and the 20-something generation?

Excerpt from the New York Times’ “What is it About 20-Somethings?” by Robin Marantz Henzig. Published August 18, 2010

Click Here to View the Entire Article

“It’s happening all over, in all sorts of families, not just young people moving back home but also young people taking longer to reach adulthood overall. It’s a development that predates the current economic doldrums, and no one knows yet what the impact will be — on the prospects of the young men and women; on the parents on whom so many of them depend; on society, built on the expectation of an orderly progression in which kids finish school, grow up, start careers, make a family and eventually retire to live on pensions supported by the next crop of kids who finish school, grow up, start careers, make a family and on and on. The traditional cycle seems to have gone off course, as young people remain un¬tethered to romantic partners or to permanent homes, going back to school for lack of better options, traveling, avoiding commitments, competing ferociously for unpaid internships or temporary (and often grueling) Teach for America jobs, forestalling the beginning of adult life.

The 20s are a black box, and there is a lot of churning in there. One-third of people in their 20s move to a new residence every year. Forty percent move back home with their parents at least once. They go through an average of seven jobs in their 20s, more job changes than in any other stretch. Two-thirds spend at least some time living with a romantic partner without being married. And marriage occurs later than ever. The median age at first marriage in the early 1970s, when the baby boomers were young, was 21 for women and 23 for men; by 2009 it had climbed to 26 for women and 28 for men, five years in a little more than a generation.

We’re in the thick of what one sociologist calls “the changing timetable for adulthood.” Sociologists traditionally define the “transition to adulthood” as marked by five milestones: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child. In 1960, 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men had, by the time they reached 30, passed all five milestones. Among 30-year-olds in 2000, according to data from the United States Census Bureau, fewer than half of the women and one-third of the men had done so. A Canadian study reported that a typical 30-year-old in 2001 had completed the same number of milestones as a 25-year-old in the early ’70s……..”

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Last Words

By: Tina Wagner, Intern, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

Social media, media relations, branding, issue communications, special events and crisis management are topics I assisted with during my summer internship at Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc. Although I was just interning, the employees at Leonard & Finco welcomed me as one of the team.

My internship dates back to last summer when I interned part-time. Even though I was only part-time, I got a feeling of how the agency worked. This summer, however, I was completely immersed in the world of PR.

Reflecting back on the last two summers, I realized a lot about the changing world of public relations. Experts do not know where the media, public relations, marketing or advertising businesses are headed. With all this uncertainty, I came to realize one thing, while the PR business is always adapting to ever-changing business practices, these four key elements of PR will forever hold true.

Communicate: One of my first experiences with Leonard & Finco. In PR, people are always communicating messages internally or externally. In order for an agency to be successful, employees need to listen, give their input and feedback, problem-solve, establish clarity and demonstrate leadership. At Leonard & Finco, the employees do this on a daily basis and allowed me to participate as well.

Camaraderie: Leonard & Finco shows what it means to have camaraderie. In an agency, not only do the employees need close working relationships, but they need to have a familiarity with the client. I witnessed balancing and maintaining the two can be difficult at times. To keep communication flowing, Leonard & Finco taught me that you need to stay up-to-date with the clients.

Prepare: The fast pace agency life means issues can spur up at a moment’s notice. In turn, employees must research clients and competitors, gather background material and strive to be the best.

Network: Lastly, Leonard & Finco taught me the importance of networking. Building up a network of diverse contacts is helpful for any business. Networking expands your contact list. This proves to be valuable for a business because word-of-mouth travels quickly between businesses. This summer I was able to attend some social functions where I saw how networking works from a professional and a personal perspective.

I want to give Leonard & Finco a big thank you for taking the time to get to know me and teach me about PR. What I learned here can’t be taught from a textbook. I really appreciate everyone’s time.

Can you think of any other key terms for the workplace? Do you feel these terms will change with the changing world of PR?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Have iPads taken over?

By: Kristen Paquet: Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

As I was surfing through USA Today online the other morning, I came across an article that debated the issue that many knew would come up at some point: Can kids learn as well if they use an iPad vs. a textbook? Surprisingly enough, the reviews, many of which came from students, were mixed.

Here are some of the main pros and cons of using an e-reader such as the iPad or Kindle from the article:


  • Saves on textbook costs
  • Provides better information faster
  • Lightens the backpack load


  • e-readers can be a distraction knowing email and Facebook are only a click away
  • The technology is still unfamiliar
  • Easier to read a textbook than a computer screen

This article made me recall a seminar I attended while an intern at a public library during college called Librarians and Change: Are We Dead Yet? This is when many in the “book world” were wondering if the popularity of books available on the internet were going to put local and college libraries and booksellers out of business. The outcome from the seminar: not just yet. It seems that although people love new and fast technology, there is just something about the look and feel of a good book that can be beat. Keep in mind that I went to that seminar in 1994 – but the feeling pretty much remains the same today.

There has been a lot of media buzz around e-readers like the iPad and Kindle, but as far as being able to go the distance of meeting the demands of education – its seems to putter. While some companies have seen success marketing e-readers to the more casual reader, they still have not totally broken into the academic world.

Personally, I like to flip back and forth from pages, underline things, make notes in margins… something I just don’t see happening as freely using an e-reader. But, the mom in me says that the day I will only have to find one e-reader instead of four different school books 10 minutes before school starts for my sometimes absent minded children could be a pretty good thing. I guess even my reviews are mixed.

What do you think? Will there ever be a day when a student only needs to carry an e-reader to class or will we always long to hold an actual book in our hands?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Two simple questions about social media

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

So how exactly do you use social media and how do you measure results? Those were the two most common questions I heard this week after doing a presentation on social media to a joint meeting of TEC 15 & 30 this week. (TEC is a membership organization of CEOs and other company leaders who meet in small groups on a regular basis to share knowledge and learn about a variety of topics).

After my presentation there were several case study presentations and, again, those two questions came up repeatedly. I admit, being in a company where social media has long been a part of what we do and who we are, I take the answers to those questions for granted. But it’s a very good reminder to those of us immersed in social media (be it for ourselves or our clients), that we have to continue to reach out and let our clients and others know what social media is all about; how it works and how to measure results. Contrary to what many think, not everyone is Tweeting or has a YouTube channel.

There’s no better way for PR or marketing to make its case for integrated social media than making sure the CEO and other key leaders understand (at least a little bit) what social media is and what it can do for them; how it can positively impact not just the ROI, but the overall brand and image of the business.

How do you do that? First, spend some time with them just walking through the basics of what you’re proposing. Show them what a Facebook page (or other social media) looks like. Most CEOs will never admit they haven’t gone online to check it out (in fact, some are downright proud of the fact they never go online). It’s an education process up front. Case studies of complimentary companies, your clients or even your competition can also be a great way to show what’s going on “out there.” Have a plan for using social media, as opposed to simply saying “we need a Twitter account.” Know your target markets and the results you’re hoping to achieve. Decide how you’ll measure success. There are many measurement tools out there, ranging from simple to complex, so be sure to share what they look like.

There are no “one size fits all” answers to “how do you use social media and how do you measure results?” But the more you know – and the more you share that knowledge – the more likely it is you’ll be able to develop and implement an effective social media effort.